Thursday, 10 January 2013

Tafraoute route updates / feedback.

As of January 2013:

With reference to What Steve And Katja Did On Their Holidays (aka "Moroccan Anti-Atlas North"), as opposed to What Emma And Paul Did On Their Holidays (aka "Moroccan Anti-Atlas North 2012 Update" aka "Moroccan Rock Jebel El Kest"):

Lower Eagle Crag:

Walk-in should only be attempted direct to Black Beauty or from the left. The walk-in from the right towards Infinity is murderous brambles.

Descent is down the closer slabby gully at the right end of the crag, there are cairns marking the way and this avoids most vegetation.

Infinity E4 5c *** (correct) - amazing first pitch, one of the best in the area, bold off the deck but easy overall. Abseil possible, full route is very unbalanced but fine combination.

Griffin Rock:

Walk-in is more like 5 minutes.

Dennis The Menace HVS 5a ** (not E1 5b) - partner said it was easy.

Grasshopper Arete HS 4b ** (not VS 4c) - partner said it was easy.

Crackerjack E2 5c *** (easy for E3) - brilliant top pitch, steady with good gear and jams etc. Watch ropes on abseil.

Profusion of Protusions E1 5a ** (not E1 5b) - steady crack leading to steady jugs, a bit fragile in places hence worth E1.

Anammer Crag:

[x] Anzar HVS 5a (not *) - not an obvious line, HS groove to the right much more natural.

Jericho Road VS 4c *** (correct) - solid at the grade, slightly fragile rock but nice position, steep climbing, and summit tick.

Park End E3 5b ** (not ***) - easy for the grade, not a devastating solo, good gear before leaving HVS crack. Solid star for the line and another for the climbing, but not independent enough to be worth ***.

St Clements VS 4c *** (not HVS) - partner said it was steady, nice line and lovely finish.

St Aldates VS 4c ** (not HVS) - nice, steady, not quite as good as StC.

Ksar Rock:

Abseil down from Catwalk to Cannon Buttress is a full 25m+ NOT 20m.

Sahara HS 4b *** (not VS) - safe easy jug pulling with just one 4a/b move to finish. Very nice route.

Jedi Groove HVS 4c *** (correct) - classic pitch, easy for the grade but just about merits it for position and 5a crux.

Cannon Buttress Direct E1 5b *** (correct) - steady at this grade and very nice. Much better done in one pitch.

O-Zone E2 5c ** (correct) - good fun steep climbing, not low in the grade as there's some bold stretches above the crux flake.

Days of Thunder E3 6a ** (not ***) - solid at the grade, thin wires are okay but goes on for longer than expect. Some crispy rock and cramped location so not ***.

Breaking Strain E4 6a *** (probably not **) - excellent line with intense and strenuous climbing, possible *** for pitch 1. Abseil down from P2 is easy 45m not 55m. Description is wrong, crux is the middle of the groove and safe (but thin!).

Finger And Thumb:

The Snake E3 5c *** (not **) - definite ***, one of the very best E3s in the area, two great pitches (bottom one is E2 5b) and a summit tick. 50m abseil towards Thumb over smooth dead tree.

The Tortoise E0 5a ** (HVS/E1?) - HVS climbing with an E1 vibe, safe but committing crux. Just worth ** for nice rock and a very pointy summit.

Robin Hood Rocks:

Call To Prayer E1 5b ** (not *) - solid at the grade with technical climbing and just enough gear, good line and continuous interest so worth **.

The Sword Of Damocles HS 4b ** (correct) - fine at the grade and nice getting into crack.

Down And Out E0 5a ** (HVS/E1?) - steady and good gear so not E1, maybe HVS though. Nice climbing and better than it's blocky nature indicates.

Hello Picasso E4 6a *** (correct) - brilliant pitch, steady but great moves with good rests and adequate protection, quite fiddly in the middle section. One of the best outcrop Extremes.

[x] Dead Arm On The Panic Button E4 5b/c * (not E3 5b ***) - worth * for the climbing but only recommended as a way to cut short your Morocco trip and test your medical insurance. Not what one flies abroad for.

Take If Easy HS 4b ** (not ***) - good solid climbing but a bit short and blocky to be ***.

Lying Eyes VS 4c *** (not **) - worth *** for the line, rock, and interesting climbing.

Orbital E3 5c ** (correct) - good route, pushing ***, not soft touch for the grade as crux gear is small and fiddly, and the whole "wrong foot rockover" message is complete bollox.

Bishop's Balcony HVS 5a *** (correct) - good fun climbing in an exposed position, good jams and holds, maybe ** as a bit short for ***.

Live And Let Die E2 5c ** (not E3 6a **) - stiff at this grade but not much harder, great gear and good jams, and the thuggy crux is short-lived.

Die Another Day E3 5b ** (correct) - well worth stars for the general style and funky rock, does exactly what it says on the tin.

[x] Die Another Day Direct E4 6a *** (not **) - looks like a great addition to the route, but a hard onsight especially in the afternoon heat and without a hanging top-rope anchor.

Dwawj Wall and Slabs:

Dwawj Wall approach is 15 mins and gruelling.

Rock The Kasbah E3 5c *** (not **) - could be E2, easier crux than Crackerjack but more tiring overall. Worth *** for excellent line and continuous climbing.

Shagadelic E2 5c ** (correct) - solid at this grade, almost worth *** for the wandering but committing first pitch with an excellent crux. Abseil station needs replacing.

Jewel In The Crown VS 4b, 4b ** (not 4a, 4b) - first pitch is the technical and adjectival crux, second pitch is easier but a fine towering rib. Could be *** for fine rock and nice climbing. Both 50m abseils but second one needs care on boulder.

In the W.E.A.P.D.O.T.H. book:

Deep Well Pinnacles:

??? E4 5c *** (correct) - spot on, bold and blind climbing with a good easy arete finish.

??? E1 5b *** (probably more than **) - two very fine pitches with a comfy belay pinnacle and easy abseils.

Dragon Buttress:

Firesword E1(2) 5b *** (correct-ish) - top end of the grade, or E2 without a Camalot 4+ for the death chimney on pitch 2. Excellent classic route with very substantial pitches.

New Routes:

Tassila Canyon:

[x] Flash Flood E4+ 6b ** (not E4 6a ***) - hard, reachy and slopey, albeit with perfect protection. Radical rock and a cool concept, but the footless thuggery crux is too grim for ***.

Escape Pitch E2 5b * (correct) - short, bizarre, fun shallow water solo that will shock any VS leaders looking for an escape.

Les Amaniers confirmed as good and comfortable, but an hour's drive to most areas.

Kasbah Tizourgine confirmed as good, characterful and much closer, but no wifi and COLD bedrooms.

Samazar Valley dirt road IS very poor as warned, it is possible to reach Dragon Buttress in a small 2WD but it is VERY slow and rougher than a night out in Glasgow's East End. Any climbers planning to visit regularly should hire a 4WD.

In winter it can get fairly hot in the sun but very cold in the shade and at night (i.e. permanent frost some days).

Most abseil stations are good but take plenty of spare tat as walking descents are often rough and tedious.

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